Blizzard dumps snow on Hawaii, California
set for record winter rain
Send a link to a friend
[March 03, 2017]
By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - As California edged
toward historic rainfall totals in one of the wettest winters in memory,
its neighbor state across the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii, has been hit with
sustained blizzard conditions that have dumped 8 inches of snow onto
Snow is not unheard of for the higher mountains of Hawaii, which reach
above 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) in elevation, but weather experts say
this week's storm was particularly strong and lingered over the state,
delivering a heavier than usual punch.
"The reason for the snow amounts being heavier than we usually see is
that the upper low (pressure system) really persisted down there, that
has allowed colder air to remain locked in place," said Andrew Orrison
of the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center.
But the blizzard conditions in a state normally thought of as a tropical
paradise have made national headlines, accompanied by pictures of
snow-capped Hawaiian mountain peaks.
In California, meanwhile, heavy rains have swollen rivers and reservoirs
and blanketed the Sierra Nevada mountains with twice as much snow as
usual this winter, helping power the state out of five years of severe
drought.Orrison said with winter not yet over the state was already
among the top two to three seasons on record for snow and rainfall in
"Right now we're looking at potentially an all-time record for rainfall
and you have to go back to the winter of 1982-83 for snow pack being as
deep as it is."
[to top of second column]
He said that while there was still some "lingering concern" for
Southern California, which has not had as much snow and rain, the
northern and central part of the state were no longer considered to
be in a drought.
"It's a very good story to have and there has just been substantial
improvement, even in Southern California," Orrison said.
On Thursday, the National Drought Mitigation Center said that less
than 10 percent of the state remained in drought – the lowest amount
By comparison, on the same day last year more than 95 percent of the
state was in the throes of an unprecedented, five-year drought that
led farmers to fallow fields and cost billions to the economy.
Forecasters said it was too early to predict what could be in store
next winter, although there were some preliminary indications of a
so-called El Nino climate pattern that warms the ocean and typically
brings more rain and snow to California.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by
Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento; Editing by David Gregorio)
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.